The overreliance on Rodri has become alarming for the treble winners

During Manchester City’s disappointing 1-nil defeat to Aston Villa, a well-documented issue became even bigger. Without Rodri the treble winner’s midfield almost breaks down entirely. The overreliance on their midfield general has now become alarming. City have lost all four games in all competitions he has missed this season.

It was evident early in last night’s game against Aston Villa that the makeshift Manchester City midfield was up against it. With John Stones, Rico Lewis and at times Manuel Akanji slotting into the centre of the pitch they ran into a determined Villa midfield brigade. The hosts pressured and pressed the City midfield at every opportunity and it rattled Pep Guardiola’s side. As much as they fought the treble winners couldn’t gain any control in midfield. Unai Emery’s tactic of compressing the pitch with Villa’s high defensive line worked a treat as it suffocated the pockets of space that the Manchester City midfield usually thrives in. While Rodri may not have solved that particular issue, his absence through suspension denied the champions their most influential player.

Based on the evidence of this season if Rodri is unavailable there are no options to cover his loss. Kalvin Phillips was brought in last season for another option in midfield. But that move hasn’t panned out and he appears to be set to leave the European champions in January. Matheus Nunes and Mateo Kovacic have both suffered injury issues of late and neither could affect last night’s game when they were introduced. The pair need minutes to regain their touch and form before they can be judged properly.

It may be a case of Manchester City hitting the market in January to find help for Rodri. As it stands currently without him City can’t compete.

Tags Aston Villa January transfer window John Stones Kalvin Phillips Manchester City Manuel Akanji Mateo Kovacic Matheus Nunes Pep Guardiola Rico Lewis Rodri Treble winners Unai Emery Villa Park